By Kathryn Boole
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 3
Released May 5th
After seeing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, I felt like writer/director James Gunn had decided on his music playlist first and then built the story around it. That was a correct guess, as my research revealed. Gunn is acutely aware of the importance of music in cinema, to the point where his films are often crafted, very successfully, around a playlist. While his previous two Guardians films were built from mostly 1960s and 1970’s songs (and some early ‘80’s,) the list of classics on Vol. 3 is from a later vintage, later ’70s, ’80s, 90’s and some from this current century. Among its 17 songs are “Creep” by Radiohead (1993), “Reasons” by Earth, Wind & Fire (1975), “Badlands” by Bruce Springsteen (1975), and most notably, “Dog Days are Over” by Florence & the Machine (2008).
Music is part of the cultural history of the Guardians’ stories. In the first two “volumes,” the greatest treasure of our hero “Peter Quill” (Chris Pratt) is a mixtape left to him by his late mother. Not surprisingly, Gunn started his career in a rock band called “The Icons.” He also wrote novels and created comic strips for underground and college publications.
Gunn gives his actors the movie’s playlist on set so they can listen to it and become absorbed into the environment of the story. The actors do seem to transform into their imaginative characters completely. Pratt seems genuinely awed by the journey he’s been drawn into as Peter Quill. Chukwudi Iwuji endows his villainous “High Evolutionary” with a hint of conscience.
I love Pom Klementieff as “Mantis,” and I wished that she was featured more in the first Guardians. Here she is a major character, her innocent demeanor masking an instinctive intelligence. Dave Bautista as “Drax,” Zoe Saldana as “Gamora” and Karen Gillan as “Nebula” are all able to give their exotic characters human emotion.
Will Poulter is introduced as “Adam Warlock,” a bad guy at first, who experiences an arc of the character. Poulter has been acting since his teens and is best known for The Revenant and Chronicles of Narnia. He and Gunn worked closely together fleshing out his Warlock.
In the end, it’s the characters that carry this movie, not its relationship to the comic books, nor the fantastic sets, or the special effects. The music sets the environment. There is a scene close to the end which I believe will become iconic, played to the music of “Dog Days Are Over.” This is the heartbeat of the movie and the Bollywood Climax of the story.
While die-hard Guardians fans are spending nervous energy speculating if this is the last installment in the Guardians franchise and what its place is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, why worry about it? Forget all that and take it out of context. Just enjoy this movie as the wonderful modern-day Fairy Tale that it is!
Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which has been the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people. She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. You can email her at email@example.com